As a part of the NASA BASS and BASS-II experimental projects aboard the International Space Station, flame growth, spread and extinction over a composite cotton-fiberglass fabric blend (referred to as the SIBAL fabric) were studied in low-speed concurrent forced flows. The tests were conducted in a small flow duct within the Microgravity Science Glovebox. The fuel samples measured 1.2 and 2.2 cm wide and 10 cm long. Ambient oxygen was varied from 21% down to 16% and flow speed from 40 cm/s down to 1 cm/s. A small flame resulted at low flow, enabling us to observe the entire history of flame development including ignition, flame growth, steady spread (in some cases) and decay at the end of the sample. In addition, by decreasing flow velocity during some of the tests, low-speed flame quenching extinction limits were found as a function of oxygen percentage. The quenching speeds were found to be between 1 and 5 cm/s with higher speed in lower oxygen atmosphere. The shape of the quenching boundary supports the prediction by earlier theoretical models. These long duration microgravity experiments provide a rare opportunity for solid fuel combustion since microgravity time in ground-based facilities is generally not sufficient. This is the first time that a low-speed quenching boundary in concurrent spread is determined in a clean and unambiguous manner.
Research Containing: Microgravity Science Glovebox
Contribution to the benchmark for ternary mixtures: Measurement of diffusion and Soret coefficients in 1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalene, isobutylbenzene, and dodecane onboard the ISS
The paper is devoted to processing the data of DCMIX 1 space experiment. In this experiment, the Optical digital interferometry was used to measure the diffusion and Soret coefficients in the ternary mixture of 1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalene, isobutylbenzene and n-dodecane at mass fractions of 0.8/0.1/0.1 and at 25 degrees C. The raw interferometric images were processed to obtain the temporal and spatial evolution of refractive indices for two laser beams of different wavelengths. The method for extracting the diffusion and thermal diffusion coefficients originally developed for optical beam deflection was extended to optical digital interferometry allowing for the spatial variation of refractive index along the diffusion path. The method was validated and applied to processing the data for Soret and diffusion steps in 5 experimental runs. The obtained results for the Soret coefficients and one of the eigenvalues of diffusion matrix showed acceptable agreement within each step. The second eigenvalue was not determined with sufficient accuracy.
We present a transient experimental analysis of the DCMIX1 project conducted onboard the International Space Station for a ternary tetrahydronaphtalene, isobutylbenzene, n-dodecane mixture. Raw images taken in microgravity environment using the SODI (Selectable Optical Diagnostic) apparatus which is equipped with two wavelength diagnostic were processed and the results were analyzed in this work. We measured the concentration profile of the mixture containing 80% THN, 10% IBB and 10% nC12 during the entire experiment using an advanced image processing technique and accordingly we determined the Soret coefficients using an advanced curve-fitting and post-processing technique. It must be noted that the experiment has been repeated five times to ensure the repeatability of the experiment.
We present studies of colloidal suspensions of magnetizable particles with the aim of understanding the kinetics and underlying microstructural evolution of the liquid-solid transitions these systems exhibit in external magnetic fields. Critically, such studies are limited on Earth due to catastrophic sedimentations of the suspensions. Structural changes are investigations under steady and intermittent (pulsed) magnetic fields. Here, we focus on image processing methods used to extract structural information from video microscopy data obtained from InSPACE experiments carried out in the Microgravity Science Glovebox on the International Space Station. These experiment provide important information for the development of magnetorheological (MR) fluids in technological application, such as actuators and sensors while also providing critical insight into the fundamental physics of liquid-solid transitions.
A series of nucleate pool boiling experiments were conducted in the Boiling Experimental Facility (BXF) located in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) on board the International Space Station (ISS) during the period March–May, 2011. Nucleate Pool Boiling eXperiment (NPBX) was one of the two experiments housed in the BXF. Results of experiments on natural convection, nucleate pool boiling heat transfer and critical heat flux are described. Perfluoro-n-hexane was used as the test liquid. The test liquid contained dissolved gas. The test surface was a polished aluminum disc (89.5 mm dia.) heated from below with strain gage heaters. Five cylindrical cavities were formed on the surface with four cavities located at the corners of a square and one in the middle, to study bubble dynamics and initiate nucleate boiling. During experiments the magnitude of mean gravity level normal to the heater surface varied from 1.7 × 10−7ge to 6 × 10−7ge. The results of the experiments show that at low superheats, bubbles generated on the heater surface slide and merge to yield a large bubble located in the middle of the heater. At high superheats, the large bubble may lift off from the heater but continue to hover near the surface. In both these scenarios, the large bubble serves as a vapor sink. Natural convection heat transfer in microgravity was found to be consistent with that predicted by available correlations. Steady state nucleate boiling and maximum heat fluxes are found to be lower than those obtained under earth normal gravity conditions. The heat transfer coefficients for nucleate pool boiling are found to be weakly dependent on the level of gravity (h/hge ∝ (g/ge)1/8). Maximum heat flux also shows a weaker dependence on gravity than that given by the hydrodynamic theory of boiling. The data are useful for calibration of results of numerical simulations. Any correlations that are developed for nucleate boiling heat transfer under microgravity condition must account for the existence of vapor escape path (large vapor bubble acting as a sink) from the heater, relative size of the large bubble and heater, and the size and geometry of the chamber used.
SUBSA and PFMI Transparent Furnace Systems Currently in use in the International Space Station Microgravity Science Glovebox
The Solidification Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules (SUBSA) and Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI) furnaces were developed for operation in the International Space Station (ISS) Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG). Both furnaces were launched to the ISS on STS-111, June 4, 2002, and are currently in use on orbit. The SUBSA furnace provides a maximum temperature of 850 C and can accommodate a metal sample as large as 30 cm long and 12mm in diameter. SUBSA utilizes a gradient freeze process with a minimum cooldown rate of 0.5C per min, and a stability of +/- 0.15C. An 8 cm long transparent gradient zone coupled with a Cohu 3812 camera and quartz ampoule allows for observation and video recording of the solidification process. PFMI is a Bridgman type furnace that operates at a maximum temperature of 130C and can accommodate a sample 23cm long and 10mm in diameter. Two Cohu 3812 cameras mounted 90 deg apart move on a separate translation system which allows for viewing of the sample in the transparent hot zone and gradient zone independent of the furnace translation rate and direction. Translation rates for both the cameras and furnace can be specified from 0.5micrometers/sec to 100 micrometers/sec with a stability of +/-5%. The two furnaces share a Process Control Module (PCM) which controls the furnace hardware, a Data Acquisition Pad (DaqPad) which provides signal condition of thermal couple data, and two Cohu 3812 cameras. The hardware and software allow for real time monitoring and commanding of critical process control parameters. This paper will provide a detailed explanation of the SUBSA and PFMI systems along with performance data and some preliminary results from completed on-orbit processing runs.
Microgravity combustion tests burning fabric samples were performed aboard the International Space Station. The cotton-fiberglass blend samples were mounted inside a small wind tunnel which could impose air flow speeds up to 40 cm/s. The wind tunnel was installed in the Microgravity Science Glovebox which supplied power, imaging, and a level of containment. The effects of air flow speed on flame appearance, flame growth, and spread rates were determined in both the opposed and concurrent-flow configuration. For the opposed flow configuration, the flame quickly reached steady spread for each flow speed, and the spread rate was fastest at an intermediate value of flow speed. These tests show the enhanced flammability in microgravity for this geometry, since, in normal gravity air, a flame self-extinguishes in the opposed flow geometry (downward flame spread). In the concurrent-flow configuration, flame size grew with time during the tests. A limiting length and steady spread rate were obtained only in low flow speeds (≤ 10 cm/s) for the short-length samples that fit in the small wind tunnel. For these conditions, flame spread rate increased linearly with increasing flow. This is the first time that detailed transient flame growth data was obtained in purely forced flows in microgravity. In addition, by decreasing flow speed to a very low value (around 1 cm/s), quenching extinction was observed. The valuable results from these long-duration experiments validate a number of theoretical predictions and also provide the data for a transient flame growth model under development.
Observation of an Aligned Gas – Solid Eutectic during Controlled Directional Solidification aboard the International Space Station – Comparison with Ground-based Studies
Direct observation of the controlled melting and solidification of succinonitrile was conducted in the glovebox facility of the International Space Station (ISS). The experimental samples were prepared on ground by filling glass tubes, 1 cm ID and approximately 30 cm in length, with pure succinonitrile (SCN) in an atmosphere of nitrogen at 450 millibar pressure for eventual processing in the Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI) apparatus in the glovebox facility (GBX) on board the ISS. Real time visualization during controlled directional melt back of the sample showed nitrogen bubbles emerging from the interface and moving through the liquid up the imposed temperature gradient. Over a period of time these bubbles disappear by dissolving into the melt. Translation is stopped after melting back of about 9 cm of the sample, with an equilibrium solid-liquid interface established. During controlled re-solidification, aligned tubes of gas were seen growing perpendicular to the planar solid/liquid interface, inferring that the nitrogen previously dissolved into the liquid SCN was now coming out at the solid/liquid interface and forming the little studied liquid = solid + gas eutectic-type reaction. The observed structure is evaluated in terms of spacing dimensions, interface undercooling, and mechanisms for spacing adjustments. Finally, the significance of processing in a microgravity environment is ascertained in view of ground-based results.
A series of smoke experiments were carried out in the Microgravity Science Glovebox on the International Space Station (ISS) Facility to assess the impact of low-gravity conditions on the properties of the smoke aerosol. The smokes were generated by heating five different materials commonly used in space vehicles. This study focuses on the effects of flow and heating temperature for low-gravity conditions on the pyrolysis rate, the smoke plume structure, the smoke yield, the average particle size, and particle structure. Low-gravity conditions allowed a unique opportunity to study the smoke plume for zero external flow without the complication of buoyancy. The diameter of average mass increased on average by a factor of 1.9 and the morphology of the smoke changed from agglomerate with flow to spherical at no flow for one material. The no flow case is an important scenario in spacecraft where smoke could be generated by the overheating of electronic components in confined spaces. From electron microcopy of samples returned to earth, it was found that the smoke can form an agglomerate shape as well as a spherical shape, which had previously been the assumed shape. A possible explanation for the shape of the smoke generated by each material is presented.Copyright 2015 American Association for Aerosol Research
The Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment (SHERE) is an International Space Station (ISS) glovebox experiment designed to study the effect of preshear on the transient evolution of the microstructure and viscoelastic tensile stresses for monodisperse dilute polymer solution. The SHERE experiment hardware was launched on Shuttle Mission STS-120 (ISS Flight 10A) on October 22, 2007, and 20 fluid samples were launched on Shuttle Mission STS-123 (ISS Flight 1J/A) on March 11, 2008. Astronaut Gregory Chamitoff performed experiments during Increment 17 on the ISS between June and September 2008. A summary of the ten year history of the hardware development, the experiment’s science objectives, and Increment 17’s flight operations are discussed in the paper. A brief summary of the preliminary science results is also discussed.